GIVING local children like toddler Alisha Wilson the best start in life is all part of the Kilcooley health development action plan, launched last week.
Health Minister Edwin Poots enjoyed story time with Alisha and her friends at Jelly Tots childcare, before he launched the extensive plan last Thursday (16th).
The Minister also took time to visit the Nurture Unit based at Kilcooley Primary School, the Kilcooley Women’s Centre and enjoyed a tour of Kilcooley Allotments despite the inclement weather.
During his visit, the Health Minister addressed a range of key community and statutory stakeholders including Kilcooley Women’s Centre, Kilcooley Community Forum, North Down and Ards Women’s Aid, Bangor Alternatives and Kilcooley Community Action Group.
A number of elected representatives including North Down DUP MLAs Gordon Dunne, Peter Weir and Alex Easton as well as Ulster Unionist Party Councillor James McKerrow also attended.
The launch of the plan showed a collective partnership approach to tackling the health inequalities within Kilcooley.
This partnership was made up of the Public Health Agency, the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, the Department of Social Development, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive as well as other statutory, voluntary and community organisations.
For this working partnership emerged the Kilcooley Health Task Force which targets identified need and looks at who can best address those needs.
Speaking last week, Minister Poots said, “I welcome the aims and objectives of the Action Plan - to improve the health of people living here to enable them to make healthier lifestyle choices in their everyday life.
“Tackling health inequality remains a key priority for me. What a child experiences during their early years lays the foundation for the whole of their life - for better or worse. Therefore, action to address health inequalities must start from the very earliest stage.”